Tip of the Week

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Extra gooey, cheesy Mac 'n' cheese

Now many of you will agree that Mac n' Cheese is a comfort food, (I don't), but I do make it.  I really think the boxed versions turned me off to mac n' cheese when I was a kid.  Once you try this recipe I think you will never go back to boxed versions again.

There are really two key things for making mac n' cheese.  The first being the cheese(s);  most recipes call for at least 2 types.  I recommend (as several recipes do too) Gruyere and Cheddar (either medium, sharp or white).  The second is the sauce which really makes all the difference and though it may seem complicated, it's really not.  Be prepared to spend a few extra minutes making the sauce.

Hopefully boiling pasta is a skill you already have.  Just don't over cook the pasta as it will cook a bit in the oven.  And you can get creative with the shape of the pasta you choose.  Elbows would be classic, but if you have kids you could try fun shapes or use shells that would pickup more of the sauce.

Here's my recipe for the sauce:
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup flour
3 cups milk (whole preferably)
1 yellow onion, diced
1 small bay leaf
Pinch of nutmeg
Salt and Pepper

Melt the butter in a pan, then stir in flour and until stirring until it forms a ball.  Remove from heat and 1 cup of milk, whisk, and repeat until you incorporate all the milk.  Add to heat, continuing to whisk until it comes to a boil.  Then add onion, bay leaf, nutmeg and salt and pepper (to taste).  Reduce to low heat and cook, stirring until thickened.  I leave the onions in the mixture, but remove the bay leaf.  If you prefer you can take the onions out by straining the mixture.

Just out of the oven

Add the sauce to the pasta and stir in 1 cup of cheese (more if you prefer) and some heavy cream.  Combine and add more cheese to top the dish.  Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F.  Enjoy!

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